Hawkes Bay professional Brook MacDonald has finished fifth at the UCI Mountain Bike World Championships in Norway today.
It is the best finish at a world championship for the 22 year old professional from Trek World Racing who produced a top ride on a challenging day of downhill racing at Hafjell.
There were three kiwis in the top 15 with the super-consistent Sam Blenkinsop seventh and Cameron Cole in 15th.
MacDonald, who missed last year’s championships with injury and had a slow start this year following shoulder surgery, impressed on the dry and fast course that featured huge jumps and a plethora of sharp rocks. Seeded 19th, “The Bulldog” blasted his way to a time of 3:26.797 to claim the lead.
His lead lasted until his Trek World Racing teammate Neko Mulally (USA) edged him in a remarkable run after dropping his chain.
Gee Atherton won his second world title ahead of Great Britain compatriot Josh Bryceland, who finished despite breaking his ankle on the final jump.
It was MacDonald’s third top-10 finish at the world championships to complete an excellent year.
Blenkinsop (Lapierre Riding Addiction, Wanganui) has been a model of consistency this year with four World Cup finishes in the top six and he produced another classy display for seventh, his fourth straight year finishing in the top-11 at the worlds.
Cameron Cole (Commencal Riding Addiction, Christchurch) impressed with 15th place in 3:29.207 while fellow Kiwis Wyn Masters, Ed Masters and Matthew Walker had solid runs.
Fourth fastest in the seeding run, George Brannigan (Trek World Racing, Hawkes Bay) was among several riders to succumb to the treacherous rocks to limp home down the field.
Manon Carpenter (GBR) edged favourite and compatriot Rachel Atherton for the women's honours with Nelson’s Veronique Sandler in 15th.
Rotorua’s Connor Hamilton enjoyed an outstanding performance in the junior men's competition, finishing fifth. His time of 3:38.736 stood as the fastest for a long time until pipped by the final few riders.
Fellow Rotorua rider Keegan Wright joined Hamilton in the top 10.
Elite men: Gee Atherton (GBR) 3:23.769, 1; Josh Bryceland (GBR) 3:24.176, 2; Troy Brosnan (AUS) 3:24.335, 3. Also NZers: Brook MacDonald (Trek World Racing) 3:26.797, 5; Sam Blenkinsop (Lapierre Gravity Republic) 3:26.968, 7; Cameron Cole (Commencal Riding Addiction) 3:29.207, 15; Wyn Masters 3:34.763, 33; Ed Masters 3:35.276, 35; Matthew Walker 3:36.024, 39; George Brannigan (Trek World Racing) 4:04.024, 79.
Elite women: Manon Carpenter (GBR) 3:49.407, 1; Rachel Atherton (GBR) 3:49.495, 2; Tahnee Seagrave (GBR) 3:52.870, 3. Also NZers: Veronique Sandler 4:22.583, 15.
Junior men: Loris Vergier (FRA) 3:29.090, 1; Laurie Greenland (GBR) 3:34.080, 2; Jacob Dickson (IRL) 3:36.384, 3. Also NZers: Connor Hamilton (NZL) 3:38.736, 5; Keegan Wright 3:42.031, 9; Sandri Connor 3:50.265, 24; Peter Bethell 3:51.588, 26; Carl Goodwin 3:59.754, 43; Josh McCombie dnf.
CAPTION: Brook MacDonald blasts his way to fifth in the downhill final at the UCI Mountain Bike World Championships in Hafjell, Norway. Credit: Trek Wold Racing.